Foundation names Cole as Executive Director

Robert W. Cole

Robert W. Cole

The Lake Wentworth Foundation has appointed Robert Cole as their Interim Executive Director.   Cole moves from his role as a Foundation trustee, where he served on the Development and Nominating & Governance Committees.

The Foundation enters its 20th year side-by-side with the Lake Wentworth Association, emerging in recent years as a proactive conservation group with a mission “to protect and preserve the water quality, natural resources and scenic beauty of Lake Wentworth, Crescent Lake and their watershed, now and for future generations.”  

 In 2012, the Foundation, in partnership with town and state organizations, completed the Lake Wentworth/ Crescent Lake Watershed Management Plan.  Projects are underway to implement the many recommendations of the plan, all aimed at a 15% reduction in phosphorus, the most prominent threat to water quality.

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Winter’s impact on water quality: de-icers and sand

It is important to remember that streams continue to flow, ponds and lakes continue to ‘live’ under their ice and our responsibility to maintain healthy water ecosystems continues throughout the winter. During significant snow and ice storms, road safety requires the application of salts to melt ice and provide safe traction. Each winter local road departments, commercial parking lot owners, home contractors and homeowners use salt to melt snow and ice and to maintain road and other surfaces.

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Where is even more care needed?

shoreline buffer  If you live on shoreline property, maintaining and designing your septic system requires more care than a system located elsewhere. Water pollution can happen even though your system appears to be working well and complies with local health department codes.  Indicator dye put into your septic tank  can help to find problems that may otherwise be difficult to notice.

It’s important to remember, most wastewater treatment happens in the soil below the drainfield in a traditional system. Septic systems on shoreline property are often close to both groundwater and surface waters, and drainfields are sometimes saturated during high water periods. In this case, partially treated wastewater can easily enter adjacent lakes, ponds and streams. Also, as shorelines erode, the distance between the septic system and the shoreline decreases. Continue reading

What are they talking about?

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Both Lake Wentworth and Crescent Lake are categorized as ‘oligo’ lakes. What the heck does this mean?

First “oligo’ is short for Oligotrophic. If you separate the two parts of this word you have “oligo” which means very little; and “trophic” the root of which is ‘trophy’ meaning nutrients. So an oligotrophic lake is one that has relatively little available nutrients. The nutrients they are primarily referring to are phosphorous and nitrogen.

Scientists classify lake types so they can be easily referred to and their basic characteristics conveyed. In this case scientists are characterizing the fertility of the water body = it’s trophic state.

All lake users and watershed residents (seasonal or year round) need to do their part to keep these lakes in their present oligotrophic states.

Native Plant Growth-Just Something to Get Used To

Aquatic plants are a common sight in New Hampshire’s waterbodies, and many lake residents, as well as visitors to New Hampshire’s numerous waterbodies, may question the importance and role of aquatic vegetation.

Each waterbody may vary in terms of the number, type and distribution of aquatic plants it supports. Over long periods of time, both diversity and distribution of those species can be expected to expand just a little bit, as the lake ages and more organic material accumulates on the lake bottom, making for ideal plant habitat. Sometimes, on a shorter scale, one native plant species or another may become very abundant for a growing season, and then it is present in very low density the next year. Much like we see with acorn production or pine cone production from trees on land, native aquatic plants have “boom and bust” cycles as well.

Usually those booms subside after just a season or two, and the native plants don’t sustain high levels of production for long duration. Bladderworts, native waterweed, water naiad and some pondweeds exhibit this boom and bust cycle. The summer of 2015 happens to be a good year for bladderwort growth statewide, and lots of lakes are seeing floating masses of bladderwort floating around like tumbleweeds.

bladderwort In 2014, it was water naiad that was the abundant species statewide, and in 2013 it seemed like pondweeds were taking off. Each of these have returned to their “normal” levels in waterbodies, and have not continually increased.

Native aquatic plants are not a bad thing in lakes, even though from our own human perspective they can sometimes be a nuisance. Aquatic plants provide many of the same functions as terrestrial plants.

Bladderwort at Walker Pond in Boscawen

Aquatic plants provide a food source, fish habitat, remove carbon dioxide, and produce oxygen through photosynthesis. Plants act as the producers in an ecosystem since they produce their own food as well as food for the consumers or animals of that ecosystem. Aquatic vegetation provides food for tiny microscopic animals called zooplankton, fish, waterfowl, moose and other mammals, and in some cases humans.

Not all aquatic plants are nuisances which require removal. According to DES Wetlands staff, the removal of native aquatic vegetation from lakes and ponds is not allowed. The water, and the land underneath it, is state property and as such, the property owner does not have the legal right to make alterations to that land without a permit.

Removal of native vegetation is considered to be habitat destruction. It should also be noted that the removal of native vegetation inevitably makes room for invasive vegetation to establish itself, further exacerbating a problem the state is already facing. A permit would be required for any type of dredging and removing of sediment and/or vegetation and it’s not likely that such a permit would be granted for an individual property owner who simply wishes to have a swimming area on their waterfront that is free of vegetation.

For questions about native plant management, please contact the DES Wetlands Bureau at 603-271-2147.

Reprinted with permission from auther: Amy Smagula, NHDES Exotic Species Program Coordinator